Roethlisberger focused on season
LATROBE, Pa. -- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said his focus is on football, not his contract situation, and he expressed confidence that the two sides will reach an agreement on a long-term deal after this season.
The Steelers recently informed Roethlisberger that they won't sign him to a new contract even though he has two years on his current deal, which is when they traditionally sign their starting quarterback to a long-term contract.
Steelers president Art Rooney II told Steelers.com earlier this week that the team will wait until after the season to re-sign Roethlisberger, since the salary cap is expected to spike again and so the organization won't risk losing key players who are entering the final year of their contracts.
"I have faith that the Steelers will do what we need to do when it's time and that's putting people on the field through free agency, trades, drafts to make us the best team that we can possibly be," Roethlisberger said Saturday after the Steelers' first practice of training camp. "When we get here there is no contract talk. When we get to camp it's time to play football and that's what I'm excited about."
Roethlisberger, one of only three active quarterbacks to win multiple Super Bowls, will make $12.1 million in base salary this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and his salary cap hit is $18.895 million.
Rooney and Roethlisberger met last month, shortly before the Steelers signed Maurkice Pouncey to a five-year contract extension that makes him one of the highest-paid centers in the NFL. Rooney said he has kept an open dialogue with Roethlisberger and Ryan Tollner, Roethlisberger's agent, to show that the Steelers are proceeding with good faith when it comes to the QB's contract situation.
"We wanted to make sure they were understanding that we do want to make a commitment," Rooney told Steelers.com. "We did assure him that next year is the time frame in which we want to address it."
Roethlisberger, who turned 32 in March, looked sharp during the Steelers' first practice of training camp. His arm seemed lively as ever as he zipped passes to a host of different receivers.
Roethlisberger said he dropped weight prior to the start of camp, though he declined to say how much he lost.
"Personal trainers, nutritionists," said Roethlisberger, who is listed at 6-foot-5, 241 pounds. "You get 32 years old and you're entering your 11th year, it's time to do something extra."
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